Safer Communities Cabinet Member – Minutes – 26 February 2020

2 DEFENCE EMPLOYER RECOGNITION SCHEME– The Director: Children and Community Resilience submitted a report seeking approval for the council to apply for the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award 2020, and for the required policy changes to meet the criteria for the Gold Award.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) publically recognised employers’ efforts to support Defence personnel issues, such as employing reservists and veterans, whilst inspiring others to do the same. The scheme encompassed Bronze, Silver and Gold awards for employer organisations that demonstrated and advocated support to Defence and the Armed Forces community, and aligned their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Armed Forces Covenant was introduced nationally in 2011 and was an agreement between the Armed Forces community, the nation and the Government. It encapsulated the moral obligation to those who had served, previously served, their families and the bereaved.

The Covenant’s twin underlying principles were that members of the Armed Forces community should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial service; and that special consideration was appropriate in some cases, especially for those who had given the most, such as the injured and bereaved.

The council re-signed the Covenant in 2018 and was awarded Bronze through the ERS in 2018. It was further awarded the Silver in 2019. It was anticipated that the council would now work towards the Gold Award, and as such, an expression of interest must now be completed by 11 March 2020. The Gold Award requirements included changes to HR policy that enabled reservists to fulfil their annual training and mobilisation commitments and demonstrated support to Adult Cadet Instructors whilst employed with the council.

The report gave details of what the council needed to do to meet the Gold Award criteria, including suggestions following research into the 2019 cohort of Gold Award winners.

Resolved – (a) That the required policy changes, as set out in the report, be approved, and (b) that the council’s application to the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for the Defence Employee Recognition Scheme Gold Award be approved.